From Crisis to Crushing It: How to Bounce Back From Disaster There is opportunity in every disaster. Are you ready to seize it?

By Matthew Toren

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Some companies pass every test with flying colors. Others fold.

In most cases, management makes the difference between those that make it and those that don't -- especially during times of crisis. Every crisis is a two-sided coin. One side is a destroyer and the other is a creator. In other words, there is both folly and opportunity in any crisis, and it's the focus of a company's leadership that makes all the difference.

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1. Crisis

First, you have to recognize that there is, in fact, a crisis. The sooner you can identify a problem, the sooner you can begin working on solutions. In terms that make sense to most entrepreneurs, there are two potentially fatal mistakes that business owners can make:

  1. They never seeing it coming. Thinking that your company is immune from setbacks and roadblocks is the worst mistake you can make. If you prepare, and the crisis you were ready for never happens, you're no worse off (and will probably be better for going through the process). If it does happen, you'll be able to snap into action.
  2. They are blindly optimistic. News flash: If there were no problems, there would be no need for solutions. The smart approach is to recognize that challenges are bound to happen and to prepare for them. Sure, optimism and staying positive are important. You certainly don't want to go to the other extreme and constantly worry about what could happen. But, there's wisdom in the adage, "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

Related: Habits of the World's Wealthiest People (Infographic)

2. Opportunity

You want optimism? Here's where it can play a big part. Optimism is seeing the crisis and making the most of it. One of the reasons some companies have thrived in tough times is because they remained flexible enough to take advantage of the opportunities the crisis created.

Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People

If you have a company culture that insists on doing things a certain way because that's how they've always done it," you'll be in trouble when rapid changes in the marketplace occur. On the other hand, if you're always on the lookout for the positive in any situation -- even when it means changing your original plan -- you'll find opportunity everywhere.

So, the bottom line: Be prepared, find the bright side and be flexible. Do those things, and you'll be able to make it through just about any crisis that comes your way.

Have you successfully navigated your company through a crisis? Share with the community in the comments.

Matthew Toren

Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor and co-founder of

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.

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